Anyone who has ever shot a bunch of people in an attempt to overthrow a brutal regime knows: Founding a country is a lot like being in a fantasy football auction. But not the shooting people part, that was just a cheap way to get your attention. What fantasy football auctions really have in common with starting a new nation is that both require a solid foundation built upon universal truths. UNIVERSAL, meaning “100% true, even if you are on Mars and Skyping into your auction.”
There might be nothing more representative of the founding of a nation than the Declaration of Independence. For brevity, I shall refer to it only as the Dec of Ind. The Declaration of Independence is the foundation of America, the very first principles the founding fathers drew up to steer a fledgling nation towards the path that had the greatest chance of success. Likewise, we want to steer our fantasy football auctions to success. So how does the Declaration kick off, and how can this help us draft a kick-face team?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The document that successfully launched one of the most advanced civilizations of all time begins by clearly laying out some rules which have to be considered 100% true and shall not be broken. That’s the only way to create a foundation with the rock solid hips needed for the birth of a nation.
So what can this teach us about fantasy football auctions?
Simply, when making our auction plans, we must start with tenets that are, without a doubt, always true. Sure, we also need to account for the numerous nuances like league tendencies, size, etc. But before we do that, we should take a page from the Founding Fathers and establish some unbreakable auction rules.
The Declaration of Auction-dependence
(look the Founding Father’s weren’t great at puns)
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
– In the first 2/3 of the auction, nominate big money dudes you don’t like in positions that you need
Sure, other approaches might work. You might be able to nominate a guy you want before the market is set, thus getting a below market price. You might nominate the guy you MUST have, thus establishing how much money you have to build your team around them and gain an advantage. But not always. Sometimes you don’t get a guy below market value, even though the market wasn’t set before you nominate them. Sometimes you don’t get the guy you MUST have. What is ALWAYS true is that nominating a desirable player in a position you need takes a noticeable chunk of money from the pool and “clogs up” another owner’s spots at that position. The best part is that doing this multiple times builds a bigger and bigger advantage, so do it each and every nomination until you are down to the dollar players.
– Count on a TE1 going for a lot less than predicted value
Something I’m seeing a shocking amount, in auctions I’ve reviewed this year, is people being surprised that a starting caliber TE goes for a steal (usually $1). By “starting caliber” and “TE1” I mean “someone in the top X ranked tight ends, where X is the number of owners in your auction.” At least one of those guys is going to go for $3 or less if your league has one TE slot. Every time. Guaranteed. Note that this doesn’t mean you have to get one of these guys, feel free to splurge on a top 4 TE. But, when toying around with your sample budget, be sure to take this into account. Speaking of which:
– Make a budget with sample players
If you run a household, you should already know the ins-and-outs and great advantages of setting a budget (hopefully). Budgets let you plan a great team ahead of time, while still affording you the flexibility to roll with the various fluctuations in market tendencies presented by the average auction. Just draw up a simple chart of each positional slot, list the amount you could spend with each slot to get a guy you think is great, and list the players you love that you think might go for that value. It’ll probably take a few stabs to get a budget that fits with players you think are strong, but it’s 100% worth it. UNIVERSALLY.
– Get a mix of top end guys and value
“Clipping coupons” is important, getting guys for a value frees up money. However, the issue is most top-tier guys get nominated before the value guys. Therefore, you’ve got to spend that “extra savings” before you’ve even incurred it. This can be hard for a rigid person of strong financial acumen, but it’s the best way to form a competitive team.
– Nominate injured dudes the system hasn’t updated the values for
If you’re doing an auction online, and someone hasn’t shown up, find totally injured guys that the system still lists for their uninjured value, and nominate them off the bat. Auto-drafting auctions is stupid, and you can eliminate those flakes before they even start by filling up their teams with injured dudes the computer doesn’t know not to bid upon. The alternate is that you go toe-for-toe for good players with a machine that is programmed to bid market value. No steals there.
– Don’t play bid police, other guys are going to get value, you’re just trying to not go on tilt
Bidding someone up so they don’t get a steal helps a LITTLE, in that it takes a few more bucks out of the pot than if you hadn’t. A few bucks. Out of thousands. The real reason people bid players up is because they can’t handle that someone might get a steal besides them. Trust me, I see it in others, I see it in myself. Instead of exposing yourself to the risk that you get caught with a hot potato, reaffirm to yourself, before the auction, that it’s not only okay if other people get deals, it’s inevitable. In a snake draft, you wouldn’t pick a guy you hate, just because he’s slipped below ADP and you DON’T WANT ANOTHER OWNER TO GET HIM FOR A BARGAIN, right? So don’t do it in auction, either.
So there you have it: A blueprint for making your foundation for auction drafts, based upon the supreme Bible of free market theory itself, the Declaration of Independence. THAT’S RIGHT, this wasn’t just a loosely associated metaphor, both the Declaration of Independence and fantasy football auctions are the definition of capitalism, and they have a ton in common. I know, your mind is blown (if not, take a few tequila shots and read this article again. In fact, it’s a good idea to do that for everything I write and before engaging in any fist fights during your fantasy football auction). Best of luck!